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The Grain Of Wheat

But how could God’s only begotten Son become His first begotten? The method is explained in John 12:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.” Who was that grain? It was the Lord Jesus. In the whole universe God had only one ‘grain of wheat’; He had no second grain. God put His one grain of wheat into the ground and it died, and in resurrection the only begotten grain became the first begotten grain, and from the one grain there have sprung many grains.

In respect of His divinity the Lord Jesus remains uniquely “the only begotten Son of God”. Yet there is a sense in which, from the resurrection onward through all eternity, He is also the first begotten, and His life from that time is found in many brethren. For we who are born of the Spirit are made thereby “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), though not, mark you, as of ourselves but only, as we shall see in a moment, in dependence upon God and by virtue of our being ‘in Christ’. We have “received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:5, 16). It was by way of the Incarnation and the Cross that the Lord Jesus made this possible. Therein was the Father-heart of God satisfied, for in the Son’s obedience unto death the Father has secured His many sons.

The first and the twentieth chapters of John are in this respect most precious. In the beginning of his Gospel John tells us that Jesus was “the only begotten from the Father”. At the end of his Gospel he tells us how, after the Lord Jesus died and rose again, He said to Mary Magdalene, “Go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God” (John 20:17). Hitherto in this Gospel the Lord had spoken often of “the Father” or of “my Father”. Now, in resurrection, He add, ”...and your Father”. It is the eldest Son, the first begotten, speaking. By His death and resurrection many brethren have been brought into God’s family, and so, in the same verse He uses this very name for them: “My brethren”. “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11).

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